Maggie Horton Kiriakis may be known for her lemon bars and encouraging words, but she is no pushover.
Victor knew it when he appointed her as CEO. Over their eleven-year marriage, he never got away with anything for long — and if he crossed her, she was one of the few people with the guts to give him as good as she got.
Maggie’s leadership of Titan on Days of Our Lives during the week of 3-06-23 was a poignant reminder of what we lost when John Aniston passed away, but also a compelling new storyline that signifies the start of a new era.
Alex learned the hard way that “Auntie Maggie” is far more than the sweet woman who bakes lemon bars for her family.
Maggie: Bella has been struggling for some time. If we shutter it now, Titan can write it off on our taxes.
Alex: What about the staff? You’re just gonna let them go with no warning?
Maggie: We’ll offer them a generous severance package.
Alex: The magazine is named after Victor’s daughter. You really think he’s going to sign off on this?
Maggie: It doesn’t matter. Victor is not CEO of this company. I am.
When Maggie learned that he’d gone behind her back to get Victor to overrule her decision to shutter Bella Magazine, she was rightfully furious and made it clear that she would not tolerate that.
Will Alex learn his lesson? It’s doubtful, especially since his next move was to join Gwen for a drink! That’s all Salem needs — Alex stirring up trouble with the town’s most annoying schemer.
Maggie was right about how disrespectful his behavior was. He ignored it when she told him she was in charge, not Victor, and thought running to his uncle would settle the matter.
How did he not realize that Victor would tell Maggie about their conversation? Alex should have known this scheme wouldn’t work, but his misogynistic belief that Maggie would have to defer to her husband’s wishes got in the way.
This storyline has a lot going for it.
Maggie is a legacy character butting heads with one of Victor’s grand-nephews.
As the first female CEO of Titan, she defies misogyny by demonstrating her capability. As an older woman, she’s also pushing back against the idea that people in their late 70s can’t work anymore.
Sadly, it also underscores the magnitude of the loss of John Aniston.
If there’s a weak point in this story, it’s that Victor appears only in one-sided phone conversations.
It’s nobody’s fault; Aniston was irreplaceable, and he’s gone. But if he were still with us and healthy enough to work, Victor would forcefully put Alex in his place while irritating Maggie, who’d want to handle this problem herself.
Days of Our Lives films so far ahead that Aniston was alive but likely too ill to work when these scenes were taped. At some point, Victor will probably die — will his will cement Maggie in place as his successor, or will we have another round of musical CEOs?
Either way, Victor is an important part of this story and is sorely missed.
Time will tell whether Maggie made the right decision by shuttering Bella. Considering the sales numbers after Nicole and Eric’s photo shoot, the magazine might have been on its way back up.
Maggie might have been better off selling the magazine than closing it altogether. Basic Black became a Dimera subsidiary long ago, so why not sell Bella to them too?
That would have been fascinating, considering what’s happening at Dimera with the CEOs drugging each other! I’d have loved for Maggie to try to broker a deal with those two.
The CEO switch at Titan wasn’t the only dramatic change; Gwen and Xander now own the Salem Spectator, though their success may be short-lived if they don’t get back to work.
After getting great sales numbers, thanks to the Lady Whistleblower column and a front-page story about Eric and Brady’s arrests, the new owners focused mainly on their complicated relationship.
Xander left to set up an interview with Maggie, but that was only so he could get away from Gwen for a while! And the whole time he was gone, Gwen and Leo discussed whether Xander and Gwen would get back together.
I know this is par for the course in Salem — Rafe also spends far more time gossiping about his love life than working cases — but it’s also ridiculous!
Was anyone else surprised when Leo returned from the clerk’s office with Xander and Sarah’s final divorce decree? When he said he had news about Xander, I thought he’d found out about Sarah’s pregnancy!
Gwen and Xander’s reactions to Xander getting the decree shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Gwen’s heartbreak occurred only because she didn’t listen to the ten billion times Xander said he wasn’t ready for another relationship!
She accused him of leading her on, yet spent the better part of the episode — and the one before it — telling Leo how she was sure Xander wasn’t over Sarah and would never choose her.
She knew damn well that Xander wasn’t ready for a relationship yet. She hoped the divorce decree would be the final hurdle, but that was on her. Xander never said that was the only obstacle.
Gwen also accused Xander of using her whenever he needed to get out of trouble, but she’s the one who keeps volunteering to help him.
I’m not Xander’s biggest fan, but come on! Gwen blamed him for her choices, and then he quit the Spectator to make life easier for her. When is she going to grow up?
And what is Xander going to do now? He’s back to having no legitimate job, which means he’s susceptible to getting roped into another illegal scheme.
Maybe not. His friendship with Maggie might save him, especially since Sarah isn’t in town to demand he be the squeaky-clean guy he’s incapable of being.
Meanwhile, Gwen running into Alex can’t be good news. For one thing, she works with Leo, who is desperate for some dirt on Alex for his Lady Whistleblower column.
Alex is down in the dumps about losing Bella Magazine, while Gwen is brokenhearted over Xander not being over Sarah. This sounds like a match made in hell!
Gwen’ll probably come up with some underhanded way to force Maggie to keep the magazine open. Hopefully, Maggie won’t bow to the pressure. Still, there has to be a better story than these two causing trouble together.
Elsewhere, Leo’s desperation for a story led to trouble for Chad and Stephanie — for about two seconds.
Blurting out that Alex turned off Stephanie’s phone or was denied the CEO position because of his sexual exploits was not smart. All that will end up in Leo’s column!
Still, Stephanie could have handled it less obnoxiously. Chad didn’t say that she shouldn’t work with Alex or that she couldn’t be professional — that all came from her.
I hate when people put words in someone’s mouth and then get mad at them for “saying” those things! Stephanie was the second woman on Days of Our Lives to do that this week.
While we’re making inroads against misogyny with Maggie’s turn at the CEO chair, can we also eliminate this pattern of women accusing men of saying things that only happened in their imagination? Please?
Elsewhere, the Li/Gabi/Stefan story took a couple of annoying turns.
It’s hard to tell how much of Stefan’s behavior with Gabi was drug-influenced. Did he want her to stay with Li, or was his thinking screwed up?
Li’s plan is ridiculous. Everyone knows it. His father and Wendy both realize he will lose Gabi eventually, but Li is busy abusing his power and telling himself he can make Gabi fall hard for him.
Someone should tell him what happened to the last man who tried to abuse and control Gabi. Li is playing with fire here, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets burned.
Wei Shin was surprisingly calm about Wendy having a male roommate. I expected him to pressure her more to conform to his moral code.
Wendy’s difficulty accepting the traditional Chinese cultural expectations for women is a massive source of conflict for her, yet her father shugged off her sharing an apartment with a boy.
His visit was mainly a plot point; Wendy witnessed EJ inviting him to dinner, which allowed her and Johnny to figure out that EJ was trying to cause trouble for Stefan.
But her father’s happiness at Wendy having an “in” with the Dimeras via her relationship with Johnny could be interesting. Tripp is about to confront Johnny about stealing his ID, which may lead Wendy to think twice about dating Johnny.
That’ll put her at odds with her father again.
Paulina also would prefer that Johnny date Wendy so Chanel has no chance of falling for him again. But Paulina has bigger problems now, thanks to one of the silliest plot complications in recent history.
There is no way in hell a judge would decide to freeze a defendant’s assets ahead of a trial in case they lose and refuse to pay. That’s something that happens after a judgment, not before.
It would have been so easy to make this believable. Paulina’s old lawyers could have settled the case out of court, only for Belle to re-open it after the judge froze Paulina’s assets until she paid in full.
Sloan: We can’t have you hiding your assets when I get that eight figure judgment saying that you and your tramp daughter are responsible for my mother’s wrongful death.
Belle: If Chanel is a tramp, what is your father? A predator or merely a sad academic cliche?
Instead, she’s left with a financial mess because of a legal action that makes no sense whatsoever. Belle had better get this reversed quickly! There’s no basis for it to have happened in the first place.
Shouldn’t someone have served notice that both Paulina and Chanel’s assets have been frozen? Paulina shouldn’t have learned about it by investigating why her check bounced!
And what does she mean that the courts will allow them enough money to live on but will disapprove of Chanel hiring a new employee? What kind of court order is this?
Chanel hiring Talia when she has no assets to pay her seems like a disaster waiting to happen. In addition, what was the point of having Talia fill out an application and get references that Chanel didn’t bother to check before hiring her?
Talia undoubtedly has something hiding in her background that will cause trouble, especially given Jada’s reaction to her news.
Some viewers are disappointed that Jada — who has had no story beyond being a placeholder for Nicole with Eric — has been given a sister. Still, Talia’s arrival could finally give Jada something decent to do.
Hopefully, it’ll distract her from pursuing Rafe romantically, which is a yawnfest. Rafe’s best matches are with gray characters like Nicole or Sami; why do the writers insist on pairing him with do-gooder cops instead? Did they learn nothing from the Rafe/Hope debacle?
That’s not Salem’s only bad relationship idea right now, either.
Eric and Sloan are a horrible excuse for a couple. And why did Sloan go so quickly from wanting revenge on Eric to taking his case in exchange for sex?
Is she playing him? And whether or not Eric is invested in being a bad boy to protest Marlena’s death, why has he not questioned Sloan’s sudden change of heart?
Belle’s reasons for not representing Eric were extremely petty. She’s hurt and angry over what he said months ago while drinking.
She had a good reason not to help him: if his primary defense is that Brady influenced him to break the law, she can’t represent both him and Brady.
Why not go with that instead of making emotional decisions that only cheapen Belle’s character?
Nicole wasted time criticizing Eric about his choice of partner, while Eric balked at her judgmentalism while ignoring how often he judges her. She also got involved in EJ’s goofy plan to get revenge on Stefan.
Switching the drinks so Stefan gets drugged would backfire sooner or later.
Not only did EJ risk picking up the wrong drink, but Stefan should have caught on to the fact that every time he gave EJ a drink, EJ or Nicole needed him to turn his back for a second!
And now that Shin is involved, does anyone else think that that’s who will end up with a drugged drink?
Finally, Brady and Chloe again dealt with Rachel’s acting out.
John was the only one responding appropriately to Rachel’s tantrums. Chloe shouldn’t have taken Brady back so easily but leaving only teaches Rachel that she can get her way by pouting and being mean.
Brady won’t deal with this appropriately now that Chloe left, either. He’s raising a mini-Kristen, and it’s partially his own fault!
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics! Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button to sound off! Don’t forget to check out the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
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Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.